Indian Navy's INS Viraat, the world’s oldest aircraft carrier in active service, was decommissioned on Monday with a ceremonial send-off in Mumbai.
INS Viraat decommissioning has marked an end to a glorious chapter in the Indian Navy’s history as the longest serving aircraft carrier has retired after serving the country for nearly three decades.
The ship, famously known as the 'Grand Old Lady', was with the British Royal Navy since 1959 before the Indian government bought it for Rs 6.5 crore in 1987.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and senior officer of the Indian Navy attended the ceremonial send-off in Mumbai. The ship was decommissioned at a solemn ceremony in Mumbai on Monday, where 21 of its 22 former commanders were present.
The grand event saw the lowering and wrap-up of the naval flag installed on the warship at sunset, marking an end to a long sea odyssey lasting 55 years.
If no buyer is found for the ship in four months, it will be broken up and sold for scrap, Navy Chief Sunil Lanba said on Monday.
In 1997, INS Vikrant was decommissioned after serving the country for over 36 years.